photo: Richard Harris
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Chapter Thirty Six. Cowabunga.
After Thyestes’ dark world, the sun-soaked surfing scene was such a shock and a relief that the group wordlessly agreed to lie down on the bluff and just watch. Prompted by the warmth of the sun, Pip felt his muscles relaxing for the first time since they had left home. He watched as Hubert rested on his haunches, spread his wings, lowered his head to the ground, and voiced a long, slow, guttural sigh that caused little wisps of smoke to curl out of his mouth.
“Aaah! That feels good. I can finally dry out my wings. I was afraid I was going to develop a bad case of mildew. You have no idea how much that itches when it happens!”
Alexander had had the servants pack them some food, and he was now organizing a picnic by distributing zinggratch jerky, a pale blue cheese, and fruit slices to everyone. As they ate, Ganesh presented Pip with the opal that had been in Thyestes’ headband.
“Thyestes wanted you to have this.”
As he pocketed it, Pip noticed that it was warm to the touch.
The turtles, their dark green shells glistening, kept up a languorous to and fro as they paddled out through the pale green water. Then, after positioning themselves to catch the next wave, they hoisted themselves onto their boards, and once their rear legs were well placed, they pivoted upwards in a remarkably mechanical movement, necessitated by the fact that most of their bodies were encased in big, heavy shells. They did have the extra balancing advantage furnished by their tails, which formed a tripod with their legs once they were standing. Nonetheless, Pip was impressed by their skill, and he watched with wonder. Often, there were five surfers riding the same wave at once, deftly interlacing their paths but never colliding. Then as the wave started rolling over on itself, they would shoot the curl in unison, riding in the tube of air being encircled by the curling wave, until they all popped out, one after the other as the tube collapsed behind them. It was a mesmerizing spectacle, the feats of skill performed amid the huge swells of green to turquoise water, the spray sparkling in the sun; and our friends allowed themselves to relax for hours as the afternoon turned into evening.
As the shadows lengthened more turtles began arriving at the beach. They were carrying various containers and cases, which they were dragging on the ground. When they saw Pip & co., they dropped their burdens and came over. As they approached, the lead turtle greeted them,
“Welcome to Honu, strangers. We are always happy to…” he stopped when he got a good look at Pip and exclaimed,
“Wow! Are you from earth?”
“Well yes," answered a surprised Pip, “How did you know?”
“We owe our happiness, our whole way of life to a visit from a very cool Earth dude! Ever since the Visit by the Great One, by The Dyk Dael, we have pursued the one great goal that’s given us meaning and harmony. Before The Dyk Dael appeared, we were restless, reckless, rash reptiles. We had no purpose, why, we would even play shell-cracking games just for the thrill of the dare! We were nothing but a bunch of clueless ho-dads!”
“You said it!!! We were totally uncool!!!” the rest of the turtles cried in unison.
“But The Dyk Dael changed everything. When he first got here, he was pretty bummed out, being so far from home and all, but being The Great Dyk Dael, he wasn’t down for long.”
“No, not The Dyk Dael!!!” chanted the others.
“And what is the one great goal?” asked Isadora.
“Universal peace and harmony through perfect surfing and guitar playing!” chanted the turtles. The lead turtle continued,
“The Dyk Dael showed us the path, gave us the tools, and taught us how to use them to reach the one great goal. He had been on his way back from the beach, driving to a concert in his woodie when suddenly, he wasn’t on the Coast Highway anymore, but here on Honu! Here he was, who knows how far from home, with nothing but his surfboards and his guitars. A real bummer! But, being the Great Dyk Dael, it didn’t take him long to realize that this was a great opportunity that had been offered him and he worked hard to make us all cool. Then one day he was gone, but not before teaching us the Path of the Zen of the Perfect Wave and the Perfect Guitar Lick. Now we follow the One Law…”
“If You Do What You Have To (But Never Hurt Anyone) So That Everyone Can Surf All Day And Play Guitar All Night We’ll Have Peace For Ever!” all the turtles chanted in unison.
“We’re about to set up the evening concert and cookout. Would you like to join us?” asked the leader.
The Alpha Team turned to Ganesh who said,
“Thank you very much. We are honored and grateful for the invitation. The respite will be quite welcome.”
And so, as the sunset filled the sky with mauve, red and orange, Pip lay on the sand in a natural amphitheatre atop the bluffs as turtles roasted fish over glowing coals and baked other fish and root vegetables wrapped in leaves in a pit covered with hot stones, luau-style. The leader, whose name was Tarta, had refused their offers of help, telling them to “take it easy and dig the music.” On a stage made out of large flat stones, three turtles, with supremely satisfied expressions on their faces, were filling the evening with wonderfully acrobatic and inventive, yet soothing music. Soon, the food was being passed around on large yellow leaves and torches were lit as darkness fell. As one group after another went on stage and played, the rest of the turtles gently joked with each other, ate dinner and told stories.
By Richard Harris
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